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[the christian diet] | Ryan Johnson

The following is a meditation I wrote in 2005 right after my first daughter, Gracie, was born.  It deals with the principle that what we consume (literally, what influences us, what our passions are) is what we eventually become.  In Matthew 6:21, Jesus tells His disciples, “For where you treasure is, there your heart will be also.”  This article is the result of meditating on that principle and drawing application into the practical realm.

Well, Gracie finally came on Monday, August 22.  It seemed like an eternity between the first signs of labor on Friday the 19th and when she actually arrived.  But now as the inital reflections of my first seven days as a father are filtering through my head, I am being challenged to transcend the physical reality where my wife and I have this new baby to the ultimate, spiritual reality where I am hearing the echo of the truth of the Word of God being applied to my heart in the midst of this situation in order to lead me to a deeper understanding of the purpose for which I exist—to glorify God with all that I do and say.

One of the most awesome things that I have noticed about Gracie is her helplessness.  She can do nothing of her own except breathe and, well…digest (to put it mildly).  Gracie’s nourishment is received solely from Mandy and what she is taking into her own body.  As I thought about this truth, the spiritual parallel concerning my own spiritual diet became blatantly clear.

As a Christian first, and as a pastor second, what I take in drives my passion and my affections to burn for Jesus Christ day in and day out.  When I stray away from the disciplines of Bible study and daily worship, my affections begin to grow dim.  Consequently, those around me (those to whom I have been called to bear witness) are negatively affected.  My spritual malnourishment works to their detriment, just like Gracie would starve if Mandy ceased to take in the essential nutrients her body needs.

Deuteronomy 8:3 says, “And He humbled you and let you hunger and fed you with manna, which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that He might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD.”  In this verse Moses is recounting to the new generation of Hebrews how God sustained them.  As they were in the wilderness food was ever-diminishing.  Ultimately, all the people could do was depend on their God.  This verse tells us that God manufactured this state of hunger within them to show them that by His very Word they could receive food when they could not find it on their own.  God had ordained that the wilderness strip them of their resources, so that He could display His glory through His provisionary power.  That provision was His Word; the Word that called forth sustenance so that God’s chosen people could have life in a barren land.

Doesn’t that describe the context in which you and I are living?  All that exists in this world of “self-help” is an endless market of pseudo-nourishment that functions as saltwater to an already thirsty culture.  No satisfaction or nourishment is found–only temporal remedies that drive the afflicted deeper in need and without any vision of true relief.

However, just as God, by His Word, provided manna for the Hebrews in the wilderness, God has spoken and preserved His Word for our joy and wellness.  Are you feeding on the Word?  Or do you feed on that which does not fill?  Are you living on “every Word that comes from the mouth of the Lord”?  Another relevant question is, What are those to whom you have been called to bear witness receiving from you?  Think upon these things this day.  Reflect upon your own spiritual diet; and consider what you are giving those around you.  I pray that at the end of this day and at the beginning of each one that follows you will be able to say as Job did, ” I have not departed from the commandment of his lips; I have treasured the words of his mouth more than my portion of food” (23:12).

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